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7 Ways Sharing Your Story Will Change Your Life

7 Ways Sharing Your Story Will Change Your Life

There are certain stories that unite us all.

Through telling stories, we feel connection, and similarity. Oddly enough, we can also define and create our stories through our own uniqueness. No one else can write the story of our life – it’s what makes us unique, yet we all can relate to certain themes and feelings. When we tell our story, we are asking for attention from those we care about or wish to affect.

So, why are stories so important? It is incredibly important because sharing your story can change your life.

Breath
    Photo Credit: Amy Oestreicher via www.amyoes.com

    Telling our stories helps us process what happens in our lives. Through our shared experience, we can heal. It’s not the details that matter – suffering is relative. By sharing our stories, we can connect with others who feel the same way. We suddenly feel less alone in our ever-unfolding narrative.

    You don’t have to be a book author, a storyteller, or a Chatty Cathy to tell your story. Here are seven ways to start sharing your story.

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    1.) Make a mantra

    When the weather’s beautiful out, I love taking nature walks and reciting this mantra to myself:

    Breathe in experience, breathe out your story.

    Breathe in, and when you exhale, ask yourself what truth you are aching to express today.

    Floating-Girl
      Photo credit: Amy Oestreicher

      2.) Read a children’s book

      Does anyone remember the book It Looked Like Spilt Milk? The pages are simply filled with white splotches – clouds. It’s up to you to decide what shapes these “clouds” are taking. Children’s books make stories out of anything – even white splotches! There’s nothing like a kid’s book to get your mind thinking like a storyteller. Pick a good kiddie read and find the adventure in your own life.

      3.) Write a line a day

      This little book is the best investment I made. For me, the idea of “journaling” every day is daunting. Will I really have time to commit? This is a little journal where there’s literally only room for ONE line – and it’s for five years! It makes me a bit teary-eyed looking back on mine. I’m on “Year Four” already. If I go to the very first entry, it’s after a terrible surgery. The next year, I’m performing a one-woman musical about that terrible surgery. The next year, I met a guy online. The next year, I’m his wife!

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      I can’t recommend a “Line A Day” journal enough. It’s your story… in time-lapse mode!

      4.) Find your story-song

      What am I talking about? Have you ever heard a song on the radio that really resonated with you, or with a certain time in your life? Did one song remind you of a terrible break up, or your first kiss, or that party you just couldn’t stop dancing at? Today, find that song and share it. Tada! Story shared.

      5.) Send a card – just because

      Snail-mail. Remember that? I love sending cards because; well, they give me an excuse to write! With a pen?!. How old fashioned. Today, send a card to a friend, just because. Thank them for the impact they’ve made on your life – big or small. In doing so, you’ll share with them how they’ve become part of your story. Connections make our stories stronger!

      6.) Be in the moment

      You don’t always know you’re telling a story as you’re living it. If you center yourself in the present moment, a story may unfold right before your eyes!

      Here’s the trick to being in the moment by way of a clever mantra: Awareness Without Judgment.

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      Notice every physical sensation in your body. Have a chat with what I like to call “My Five Superheroes“:  taste, touch, sight, sound, and smell. Think I’m crazy? I call them my “superheroes“ because they save me in the nick of time when I’m about to get lost in anxious thoughts. When I start worrying or pitying myself, I call on these rock stars before I can think one more thought.

      Quick! At this very second, name the first thing you…

      • Smell
      • See
      • Touch
      • Taste (it can be air!)
      • Hear

      Just start with those five physical sensations, and watch your story take shape. You have a story within you. You just have to be present so you can hear it.

      7.) Talk

      Simple, I know; however, speech is healing – and not always as easy as it seems. When we talk about what has happened in or lives, we use our voices to claim ownership over what has happened to us.

      So, go on.. tell your story!

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      Dance-to-the-Rhythm-of-the-Universe
        Photo Credit: Amy Oestreicher

        Conclusion

        Why should you share your story?

        The more stories we hear about turning an obstacle into an opportunity, the more empowered we are to transform our own lives and have confidence that when life actually does surprise us, we’re capable of getting through anything.

        Think that no one can relate to your story?

        That’s the beauty of a metaphor; through a larger vision, we can relate with our own unique stories. You never know who your story might affect, and that is the special super power of storytelling. Everyone’s story is different, but we all can relate to emotions. If you’re human, you’ve felt sadness, hunger, pain, joy,  and loss. It’s not the specifics that tug at our heart strings, it’s how we overcome them. We share our dreams, fears, successes, and losses in order to create the triumphant stories that make up our world.

        What story will you share today?

        Photo Credits: Amy Oestreicher via amyoes.com

        Featured photo credit: Amy Oestreicher via amyoes.com

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        The Gentle Art of Saying No

        The Gentle Art of Saying No

        No!

        It’s a simple fact that you can never be productive if you take on too many commitments — you simply spread yourself too thin and will not be able to get anything done, at least not well or on time.

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        But requests for your time are coming in all the time — through phone, email, IM or in person. To stay productive, and minimize stress, you have to learn the Gentle Art of Saying No — an art that many people have problems with.

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        What’s so hard about saying no? Well, to start with, it can hurt, anger or disappoint the person you’re saying “no” to, and that’s not usually a fun task. Second, if you hope to work with that person in the future, you’ll want to continue to have a good relationship with that person, and saying “no” in the wrong way can jeopardize that.

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        But it doesn’t have to be difficult or hard on your relationship. Here are the Top 10 tips for learning the Gentle Art of Saying No:

        1. Value your time. Know your commitments, and how valuable your precious time is. Then, when someone asks you to dedicate some of your time to a new commitment, you’ll know that you simply cannot do it. And tell them that: “I just can’t right now … my plate is overloaded as it is.”
        2. Know your priorities. Even if you do have some extra time (which for many of us is rare), is this new commitment really the way you want to spend that time? For myself, I know that more commitments means less time with my wife and kids, who are more important to me than anything.
        3. Practice saying no. Practice makes perfect. Saying “no” as often as you can is a great way to get better at it and more comfortable with saying the word. And sometimes, repeating the word is the only way to get a message through to extremely persistent people. When they keep insisting, just keep saying no. Eventually, they’ll get the message.
        4. Don’t apologize. A common way to start out is “I’m sorry but …” as people think that it sounds more polite. While politeness is important, apologizing just makes it sound weaker. You need to be firm, and unapologetic about guarding your time.
        5. Stop being nice. Again, it’s important to be polite, but being nice by saying yes all the time only hurts you. When you make it easy for people to grab your time (or money), they will continue to do it. But if you erect a wall, they will look for easier targets. Show them that your time is well guarded by being firm and turning down as many requests (that are not on your top priority list) as possible.
        6. Say no to your boss. Sometimes we feel that we have to say yes to our boss — they’re our boss, right? And if we say “no” then we look like we can’t handle the work — at least, that’s the common reasoning. But in fact, it’s the opposite — explain to your boss that by taking on too many commitments, you are weakening your productivity and jeopardizing your existing commitments. If your boss insists that you take on the project, go over your project or task list and ask him/her to re-prioritize, explaining that there’s only so much you can take on at one time.
        7. Pre-empting. It’s often much easier to pre-empt requests than to say “no” to them after the request has been made. If you know that requests are likely to be made, perhaps in a meeting, just say to everyone as soon as you come into the meeting, “Look guys, just to let you know, my week is booked full with some urgent projects and I won’t be able to take on any new requests.”
        8. Get back to you. Instead of providing an answer then and there, it’s often better to tell the person you’ll give their request some thought and get back to them. This will allow you to give it some consideration, and check your commitments and priorities. Then, if you can’t take on the request, simply tell them: “After giving this some thought, and checking my commitments, I won’t be able to accommodate the request at this time.” At least you gave it some consideration.
        9. Maybe later. If this is an option that you’d like to keep open, instead of just shutting the door on the person, it’s often better to just say, “This sounds like an interesting opportunity, but I just don’t have the time at the moment. Perhaps you could check back with me in [give a time frame].” Next time, when they check back with you, you might have some free time on your hands.
        10. It’s not you, it’s me. This classic dating rejection can work in other situations. Don’t be insincere about it, though. Often the person or project is a good one, but it’s just not right for you, at least not at this time. Simply say so — you can compliment the idea, the project, the person, the organization … but say that it’s not the right fit, or it’s not what you’re looking for at this time. Only say this if it’s true — people can sense insincerity.

        Featured photo credit: Pexels via pexels.com

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